Members of the First Review Book Club met this month and gave their feedback on what they read in August.
The Call by Peadar O’Guilin
Rated by Tim: 9/10
What if you only had three minutes to save your life and the clock is already counting down. Three minutes: you wake up alone in a horrible land. A horn sounds. You realise you’ve been Called. Two minutes: they’re getting closer and despite all your training you’re exhausted, you can’t see anywhere to hide. One minute: you’re glad you can run. Nessa can’t; her polio-twisted legs mean she’ll never survive her Call, will she? Suddenly, a hand grabs your wrist and it’s more painful than anything you have ever experienced before in your life….. Time’s up. Could you survive The Call?
Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake
Rated by Matilda: 8/10
In every generation on the island of Fennbirn, a set of triplets is born: three queens, all equal heirs to the crown and each possessor of a coveted magic. Mirabella is a fierce elemental, able to spark hungry flames or vicious storms at the snap of her fingers. Katharine is a poisoner, one who can ingest the deadliest poisons without so much as a stomach-ache. Arsinoe, a naturalist, is said to have the ability to bloom the reddest rose and control the fiercest of beasts.
But becoming the Queen Crowned isn’t solely a matter of royal birth. Each sister has to fight for it. And it’s not just a game of win or lose . . . it’s life or death. The night the sisters turn sixteen, the battle begins. The last queen standing gets the crown.
Three Dark Crowns is a heart-stopping fantasy from Kendare Blake, acclaimed author of Anna Dressed in Blood.
Words in Deep Blue by Cath Crowley
Rated by Lili: 8/10
Second-hand bookshops are full of mysteries.
This is a love story. It’s the story of Howling Books, where readers write letters to strangers, to lovers, to poets, to words. It’s the story of Henry Jones and Rachel Sweetie. They were best friends once, before Rachel moved to the sea. Now, she’s back, working at the bookstore, grieving for her brother Cal. She’s looking for the future in the books people love, and the words that they leave behind.
Sometimes you need the poets.
The new novel from the award-winning author of Graffiti Moon.
Cell 7 by Kerry Drewery
Rated by Amelie: 6.5/10
Should she live or should she die? The decision is yours. A world where justice and the fate of those accused of murder is decided by the public, but has moved on from the Roman Gladiator ‘thumbs up or thumbs down’ public vote, to a public vote by telephone. If you are voted innocent, you are set free; if you are voted guilty, you are committed to death by electric chair. Those awaiting their sentence reside in ever decreasing cells, getting smaller each day, until Day 7 and Cell 7, where they hear their fate.
Sixteen-year-old Martha has confessed to killing a famous celebrity. But has she done it? And if not, why has she claimed the murder? Perhaps she wants to show up the flawed and brutal system by sacrificing herself in the hope of a better world….
Stealing Snow by Danielle Paige
Rated by Stella: 6/10
Seventeen-year-old Snow lives within the walls of the Whittaker Institute, a high security mental hospital in upstate New York. Deep down, she knows she doesn’t belong there, but she has no memory of life outside, except for the strangest dreams. And then a mysterious, handsome man, an orderly in the hospital, opens a door – and Snow knows that she has to leave. She finds herself in icy Algid, her true home, with witches, thieves, and a strangely alluring boy named Kai. As secret after secret is revealed, Snow discovers that she is on the run from a royal lineage she’s destined to inherit, a father more powerful and ruthless than she could have imagined, and choices of the heart that could change everything. Heroine or villain, queen or broken girl, frozen heart or true love, Snow must choose her fate. A wonderfully icy fantastical romance, with a strong heroine choosing her own destiny, Danielle Paige’s irresistibly page-turning Snow Queen is like Maleficent and Frozen all grown up.
The Scar Boys by Len Vlahos
Rated by Emily: 10/10
A severely burned teenager. A guitar. Punk rock. The chords of a rock ‘n’ roll road trip in a coming-of-age novel that is a must-read story about finding your place in the world…even if you carry scars inside and out.
In attempting to describe himself in his college application essay–help us to become acquainted with you beyond your courses, grades, and test scores–Harbinger (Harry) Jones goes way beyond the 250-word limit and gives a full account of his life.
The first defining moment: the day the neighborhood goons tied him to a tree during a lightning storm when he was 8 years old, and the tree was struck and caught fire. Harry was badly burned and has had to live with the physical and emotional scars, reactions from strangers, bullying, and loneliness that instantly became his everyday reality.
The second defining moment: the day in 8th grade when the handsome, charismatic Johnny rescued him from the bullies and then made the startling suggestion that they start a band together. Harry discovered that playing music transported him out of his nightmare of a world, and he finally had something that compelled people to look beyond his physical appearance. Harry’s description of his life in his essay is both humorous and heart-wrenching. He had a steeper road to climb than the average kid, but he ends up learning something about personal power, friendship, first love, and how to fit in the world. While he’s looking back at the moments that have shaped his life, most of this story takes place while Harry is in high school and the summer after he graduates.